As Disney Pixar’s Brave comes to cinemas around the world, we take a trip to some of the Scottish locations that inspired the filmmakers.
One of Brave’s most prominent “characters” is undoubtedly that of DunBroch Castle, the home of Princess Merida (Kelly Macdonald) and her family. It features heavily in the film and we see many of its rooms and corridors as events start to overcome Merida.
Earlier in the tour I visited Urquhart Castle, which contained many aspects that can be seen in the design of DunBroch. For this part of the tour I headed to Dun Carloway Broch on the Isle of Lewis, the island where much of Brave’s look seems to stem from.
Brochs are hollow-walled structures that may have been used as forts as far back as the 1st Century BC. The word “dun” is Gaelic for “fort”. Dun Carloway Broch is located on the West Coast of Lewis and analysis shows it was last occupied around 1300AD.
The broch is around 15 metres in diameter and nine metres high, with hollow walls. As with many ancient structures, it’s not entirely clear what the broch’s original purpose was, with theories ranging from miltary fort to a farmhouse.
Although the broch that survives today is mostly in ruin, it’s possible to get a feel for what it was like inside, with the low main entrance leading to a large central section. There’s also a chance to walk between the walls, complete with steps twisting around and up towards what may have been a second level. You can watch some of my broch tour in the following clip:
The following photos also offer a view of various aspects of the broch.
Perhaps most interestingly to someone trying to trace the real-life roots of Brave, while the animators may have used the exterior look of Dun Carloway Broch to help design their castle, it’s clearly the name that is most similar.
Although there are many brochs around Scotland, including Dun Troddan Broch and Dun Telve Broch, anyone wondering where the name of Merida’s DunBroch Castle has its origins can see it quite clearly in Dun Carloway.
Visit the Brave Tour section for more on the trip.
Getting to Dun Carloway Broch
The broch is located 1.5m South of Carloway, about 16m North West of Stornoway, Lewis on the A858. Visit the Historic Scotland website for more information.
Visiting the Isle of Lewis
The trip I took to the Isle of Lewis was with Rabbie’s Small Tours Groups, the five-day Escape to the Edge Tour, staying two nights in Stornoway, capital of the Western Isles with a night in Ullapool and Portree before and after.
Adult Prices: £275 – £295
Discount Prices: £255 – £275
Departing: Tuesdays (May to September)